Now she who is really a widow, and left alone, trusts in God and continues in supplications and prayers night and day. (1 Timothy 5:5)
Prayer is the faithful expression of a Christian’s dependency upon God. The woman in our text was really a widow, with no child or grandchild to care for her (1 Tim. 5:4). For her, prayer was not optional, it was life-sustaining. She would not survive without God. How and why do you pray? Do you pray as if your life depends on God? Do you pray knowing that without God you would not survive? Or, do you pray as an occasional afterthought? Do not take God for granted. Let us “pray without ceasing”, knowing our life on earth and throughout eternity depends on God (1 Ths. 5:17).
Now in the morning, having risen a long while before daylight, He went out and departed to a solitary place; and there He prayed. (Mark 1:35)
Prayer is the purposeful expression of one’s mind to God. It was first on Jesus’ mind of a morning, and his example urges us to pray each morning as we rise to face the day. Prayer is deliberate, not haphazard. And so, Jesus gave sufficient time to pray. He did not rush through prayer, but lingered in it as he spoke to his Father. Jesus went to a solitary place to pray, teaching us to do our best to remove distractions when we pray. Before the duties of the busy day engulf you, remember to pray. Linger in prayer to the Father, and be strengthened for the day ahead.
The silver-haired head is a crown of glory, if it is found in the way of righteousness. (Proverbs 16:31)
The aged man or woman ought to be shown respect. Too often the elderly are forgotten by family and friends too busy to be bothered. How sad, both for the aged as well as those who carelessly dispose of them. (Remember, if you are blessed with a long life you will be the aged person one day. How will you want to be treated then?) Nevertheless, the aged are held to account by God. Being elderly does not give one the right to be cranky, unkind and mean-spirited. The honor of old age is observed in the righteous example that is consistently lived in spite of the constant realities of life’s last days. If you are young, show respect to the elderly. If you are aged, remember that your example of righteousness benefits many others, bringing glory to you and to your God.
Children, obey your parents in all things, for this is well pleasing to the Lord. (Colossians 3:20)
Parents who are teaching their children to be obedient are laying a good foundation for them to also obey God. By obeying their parents, children learn to show respect, to be responsible and to be prompt in fulfilling their duty. “A child left to himself brings shame to his mother”, but a child who receives correction “will give you rest” (Prov. 29:15, 17). God is pleased when children obey their parents. He is also pleased when parents do the difficult but necessary work of training their children to obey father and mother — and God.
Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is head of the wife, as also Christ is head of the church; and He is the Savior of the body. Therefore, just as the church is subject to Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything. (Ephesians 5:22–24)
There is no greater expression of love than Christ’s love for His church. His sacrificial death on the cross is the model for how husbands must love their wives (Eph. 5:25). At the same time, the church’s loving devotion and submission to the Savior is the wife’s model for yielding to the leadership of her husband. The church’s role is not to lead Christ, but to follow His leadership. There must be a leader in a marriage, and God has given that role to the husband. Wives are to yield to the leadership of their husbands just like the church does to Christ. Marriage thrive when husbands are servant-leaders (like Christ). Marriages flourish when wives are devoted helpers who respect their husbands and yield to their leadership (Eph. 5:33). God’s plan for a successful marriage works!
Husbands, likewise, dwell with them with understanding, giving honor to the wife, as to the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life, that your prayers may not be hindered. (1 Peter 3:7)
Husbands, the Lord is speaking to us! What He says here ought to grab our attention! It is so important to God that we husbands live with our wives in an understand and honorable way, that if we fail to do so, He will not receive our prayers. Our spiritual life is hindered – we sin – when we mistreat our wives by not learning to understand her. Respect your wife by giving your time and attention to improving your relationship with her. Listen to her and really communicate with her about your life together. She wants to share her life with you. That is what God wants for you both. After all, isn’t that what you wanted when you said, “I do”? It takes hard work, but she is worth it. And what’s more, your soul (and hers) is worth it.
11 I returned and saw under the sun that— The race is not to the swift, Nor the battle to the strong, Nor bread to the wise, Nor riches to men of understanding, Nor favor to men of skill; But time and chance happen to them all. 12 For man also does not know his time: Like fish taken in a cruel net, Like birds caught in a snare, So the sons of men are snared in an evil time, When it falls suddenly upon them. (Ecclesiastes 9:11–12)
The fastest person does not always win the race. The strongest warrior does not always emerge victorious. Life is uncertain. Often, the “sure thing” is not so sure. The uncertainty of life – “time and chance” – can either be your incentive to trust the Lord and do His will, or your excuse to throw caution to the wind. The choice is yours. Misfortune can occur without warning, and when it does you are at the mercy of life’s circumstances. No one knows when calamity may strike. Be ready for whatever life brings by walking with God each day. “So teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom” (Psalm 90:12).
9 Do not lie to one another, since you have put off the old man with his deeds, 10 and have put on the new man who is renewed in knowledge according to the image of Him who created him” (Colossians 3:9-10)
A lie is a falsehood, an untruth, a deception. Every day we face many temptations to lie, from fudging our taxes to calling into work “sick” when that is not at all the case. Christians deliberately choose not to be deceptive – even if it costs them. And, it will. But, Christians choose to follow the example of Christ – and there was never deceit in His mouth (1 Pet. 2:21-22). Make up your mind that you will be a person of truth, honesty and integrity every day. By doing so you will “put off the old man with his deeds” and “put on the new man” who is conformed to the image of Christ. Be like Christ – not like sinners.
3 I will set nothing wicked before my eyes; I hate the work of those who fall away; It shall not cling to me. 4 A perverse heart shall depart from me; I will not know wickedness. (Psalm 101:3–4)
We learn in Acts 1:16 that “the Holy Spirit spoke by the mouth of David” in the psalms he wrote and sang. David was inspired by God. How then, by the Spirit of God, could David speak of “those who fall away” if it is impossible to fall away? His statement is prima facie evidence that people can indeed fall away from God. To avoid this tragedy, David would be careful not to fix his eyes (his desires) upon anything that was wicked. He would abhor the sins by which others fell away. When David found sin in himself he would not let it cling to him. He would choose to completely reject sin. He would cleanse his heart, lest by becoming acquainted with sin he would love it instead of God. There were certainly times in his life when David fell into sin and away from God. But in his repentance the joy of salvation was restored. May it be so for all who have fallen. And may we keep from falling by abhorring evil and clinging to what is good.
By faith Noah, being divinely warned of things not yet seen, moved with godly fear, prepared an ark for the saving of his household, by which he condemned the world and became heir of the righteousness which is according to faith. (Hebrews 11:7)
Noah was a great man of faith. He was not sinless, but he was a “just man” of integrity who “found grace in the eyes of the Lord” and “walked with God” (Gen. 6:8-9). God saved this man and his family through the water of the flood (1 Pet. 3:20). Why? Because in faith, Noah was “moved with godly fear” and obeyed the Lord’s command to build an ark. Noah had faith to build the ark, that saved his family. His obedient faith was counted to him for righteousness; Noah became “heir of the righteousness which is according to faith”. By grace, God saves those who have faith to obey His command to be baptized (the antitype of the flood, “which now saves us”, 1 Pet. 3:21). Do you have to kind of faith through which Noah was saved? You can, by obeying Christ’s commands to believe and be baptized to be saved (Mark 16:16). When you do, God will save you “by grace, through faith” (Eph. 2:8).